Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament
Dr. Travis West sees teaching as an act of ongoing hospitality. That is to say, teaching is creating opportunities within which students can have formational encounters—with the material, with each other, with the Spirit of God, and with their own hearts and lives. Over the past 15+ years, this guiding focus has informed the innovative Hebrew pedagogy he and several of his colleagues have developed, which now stands as a distinctive aspect of the curriculum at WTS. The Hebrew curriculum incorporates both grammatical rigor with playful innovation, analytical skills with devotional engagement, interpretive methods with Hebrew songs and prayers that blur the lines between seminary classroom and corporate worship. Dr. West’s dual identity as a professor and pastor (ordained in the Reformed Church in America) informs this formational approach to teaching and learning in every class he teaches.
In the Hebrew class Dr. West is known as “Moshe” (mo–SHAY), which is the Hebrew name Moses. Moshe means “to draw out,” as Pharaoh’s daughter drew the baby Moses out of the reeds along the Nile. As a teacher, Moshe sees his task as creating the conditions within which students’ full selves can be “drawn out,” by the Holy Spirit, as they encounter the Living God through the language and stories of the Old Testament. In 2016 he published Biblical Hebrew: An Interactive Approach with GlossaHouse. His dissertation, titled: The Art of Biblical Performance: Performance Criticism and the Genre of the Biblical Narratives will be published by GlossaHouse (late 2023).
One of his vocational passions is the attempt to bend the trajectory of the academy toward the flourishing of the Church. He is passionate about making the Hebrew Scriptures accessible to people who have never studied the language before and revealing the Old Testament’s intrinsic relevance to both pastors and lay people who are either afraid of it or feel like it is antiquated, boring, violent, or just plain strange.
Beyond his interests in innovative pedagogy prioritizing encounter and play, Dr. West’s other teaching and research interests include the dramatic art of OT narrative, using performance to teach the Bible, the role of the body and experience in the interpretation of Scripture and in preaching, and the importance and significance of the Sabbath today.